One of the fastest marathons in the world, Amsterdam is a brilliant fusion of a great running experience and a superb cultural immersion. This is everything you need to know!
One of the most searched queries about the TCS Amsterdam Marathon is whether or not the course is fast - to answer that question, you need only look at the most recent results from the 2022 edition. Almaz Ayana smashed the women's record to win in 2:17:20 and Tsegaye Getachew won the men's race in a blistering pace of 2:04:48, setting a PB at the same time. For those times to be possible, you need a fast course!
While setting a new course record won't be on the cards for many of us, enjoying running the fast, flat course in Amsterdam certainly will be and that's far from the only reason to enter this popular marathon.
45,000 people flocked to the Dutch city in 2022 for the four different races on offer, many of them staying on to enjoy the cultural highlights of this beautiful place. With an international expo, a grandstand finish at the Olympic Stadium and a full weekend of festivities on offer, this is a truly remarkable event.
If you'd like to get involved in the Amsterdam Marathon, you're in good company! This popular marathon is already receiving charity entries and interest is expected to climb throughout the year. To help you get started, we've outlined here what you can expect at the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, including course highlights, details of the other races on other, advice on staying in Amsterdam over the race weekend, as well as the all important information on how to enter.
The route follows part of the course for the marathon in the 1928 Olympic Games, exploring some of Amsterdam's stunning city centre while also heading out into the rural countryside along the Amstel River.
The Olympic Stadium. The marathon starts and finishes at the grand Olympic Stadium, built for the 1928 Summer Olympics and rejuvenated in 1996 to its original glory. With supporters filling the grandstand and runners lined up to begin on the track, this is an unforgettable start to a brilliant race!
Vondelpark. A 47-hectare public park in the middle of Amsterdam, this beautiful green space plays host to the marathon route twice, both heading out from and to the stadium. With meadows, canals and copses of trees, Vondelpark is a balm for tired runners on the return journey.
Rijksmuseum. Founded in the 18th century, this iconic museum is one of the cultural highlights of Amsterdam and the marathon route takes full advantage of its prime location - runners pass directly through the museum! From here, the route begins to head south along the first of many canals.
Amstel River. Runners exit the city along this scenic waterway, following the river south for 5K to Ouderkerk aan de Amstel before crossing over and returning along the opposite bank. On the way, enjoy the open, green countryside and several iconic windmills!
Iconic canals. As the route returns towards central Amsterdam from the river, runners head slowly back towards the OIympic Stadium along canals, over bridges and past urban parks, all flanked by classic townhouses. The architecture of the city is on full display!
Grandstand finish! Return to the Olympic Stadium to finish the marathon where it all started: on the track of this historic venue, with the stands full of cheering supporters. There are many incredible finish lines around the world but none quite like this!
While the marathon is the headline event, there are several other races happening in Amsterdam at the same time and an international expo on offer, all of which helps to draw 45,000 people to the city.
This major half marathon enjoys many of the same exciting features as the main event, including running through Vondelpark, passing through the Rijksmuseum and, most importantly, a grandstand finish at the Olympic Stadium! The biggest half marathon in the Netherlands, this race enjoys brilliant support from spectators and has a fully supported route, creating a fantastic running experience.
A fantastic short course with a flat route that really allows runners to test their middle distance speed, the TCS 8K is a brilliant addition to the weekend. The route follows the initial path of the marathon through Vondelpark and the Rijksmuseum, returning directly to the Olympic Stadium for a grandstand finish. There are three staggered starts to allow racing snakes to disappear before corporate runners and those moving at a more leisurely pace enjoy the course!
Available for children aged four to 13, this 800m race is a fantastic opportunity for kids to get involved in this weekend of running! Starting next to the Olympic Stadium, the route weaves through the Olympic Quarter in a single lap to finish alongside the canal. There are also three mini marathons available along the route, where children run a 1K section of the official marathon route.
Running for three days before race day and open on the morning of the day itself, the international marathon expo is a great opportunity to meet fellow runners, browse the latest in running kit and shoes, and meet the marathon sponsors. There is branded merchandise to buy as a souvenir, as well as pre-ordered race tops and race numbers. As with any expo, crowds will increase in size as race day draws nearer, so head there early if you have the opportunity!
If this doesn't convince you to enter the Amsterdam Marathon, what will? The evening before the marathon sees runners descend on the Olympic Stadium, where a catering tent has been set up in the middle of the track to provide pasta, helping you to prepare for the next day!
While travelling to Amsterdam is much easier than some other international marathons like New York or Tokyo, many runners decide to stay on a bit longer and make the most of their journey to this beautiful Dutch city. If you're interested in hanging on, here's what you need to know.
Given that this is not a regular city break and includes a 26.2-mile run, your choice of accommodation needs to bear that in mind - after all, you don't want to be walking miles to a hotel after the race. There are some hotels just round the corner from the Olympic Stadium, like the appropriately named Olympic Hotel and Hotel Twenty Eight, though there are plenty of options situated around the nearby train station or within a few stops.
Nor do your options end there.
Since Amsterdam is a popular tourist destination throughout the year, there are plenty of Airbnbs and hostels available for cheap accommodation throughout the city and surrounding areas.
The most authentic way to travel around Amsterdam is to cycle - if your legs are feeling up to it, there are plenty of private bike hire companies in the city, providing a set of wheels for a few hours at a time. Otherwise, grab yourself an OV-chipkaart for travelling around on trams, buses and the metro - you can recharge it with credit around the city and hop on whichever service is the most convenient.
Yes, Amsterdam does have a reputation for smoke-filled cafes and after-hours entertainment, but there is far more to the city than that. The incredible Rijksmuseum and vast Vondelpark have already been mentioned - and both are worth visiting - but we'd also recommend the Foodhallen alongside these major cultural attractions. It's a collection of food stalls and bars housed inside an old tram depot, converted to provide a fantastic culinary experience with a very relaxed vibe - perfect for relaxing after a long run.
Unlike many major marathons, entries to the TCS Amsterdam Marathon are not allocated through a ballot - once the entries are open, you can simply sign up and places are given on a first come, first served basis. What that means is that you need to be hot off the mark to make sure you don't miss out!
The other way to enter though, is by choosing to run for charity.
Entering a major event through a charity means that you pledge to raise money for that organisation and in return they will provide you with a place in the event. Not only will your entry be guaranteed, you will receive support from the charity before, during and after the event to help you make the most of your experience. That support will differ between charities but generally includes:
In all, a charity wants to make sure that you have the best experience possible of the TCS Amsterdam Marathon and will help you to reach your fundraising target.
Applying to run for a charity means agreeing to raise a minimum amount in fundraising - the amount will differ from race to race and between charities. For the TCS Amsterdam Marathon, the average is £300. You will also pay an entry fee, which is significantly reduced from the fee for general entries.
Deciding which charity to apply to involves a few considerations: the cause that the charity supports; the minimum fundraising commitment; the cost of the entry fee. Some people will be committed to raising money for a cause that is close to their heart while others will take a balanced view of those three factors.
Fortunately, we've made the decision making process as easy as possible. Just head to our page for the TCS Amsterdam Marathon and browse the available charities. You can then filter the list by the charity's name, the cause they support, their fundraising requirement or by the entry fee involved, allowing you to compare and contrast what's available on a single page. From there, just complete the application form on our page and wait to hear from the charity!
The TCS Amsterdam Marathon is a brilliant opportunity to combine a superb marathon with a visit to a city of culture. The fast, flat course weaves through Amsterdam's beautiful streets and explores the Dutch countryside, providing a unique running experience. This event is usually one of the last marathons in the event calendar and is a fantastic way to end your season. To find out more, just click below.